Saturday, November 30, 2013

War of the Seasons Book 2: The Half-Blood – A Fantasy Novel

Image: http://www.ailionora.com
In the second book of the War of the Seasons trilogy, readers are taken back to the magical world of Ailionora.
The Half-Blood takes place a few months after the events in The Human. Story has stayed in Ailionora to be with the love of her life, the elf, Eirnin. But things are tense as the elves prepare for war with the fae. Things get even worse when Eirnin is poisoned which propels Story on a quest to save him.
The Half-Blood is a great sequel that I enjoyed even a little more than the first book, The Human. Story grows as a character as she finds herself between a rock and a hard place as she tries to get an antidote for Eirnin. She even enlists the aid of the Spring Prince, Morrigann. He is, in my opinion, the most interesting character in this book as some of his past comes to light in the story.
I would recommend The Half-Blood to anyone, but especially for people who enjoy fantasy. War of the Seasons Book 2: The Half-Blood is available in paperbackKindle and Nook formats.
Note: I received a copy of this book for review purposes.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Our Thanksgiving

Usually for Thanksgiving, we go down to GA to spend the holiday with my aunt, uncle and cousins. This year, Todd’s grandmother was down visiting his aunt in Charlotte so we went to have Thanksgiving there.

Todd volunteered to make the meal, but he made most of it the day before. When we got up, he was making the potatoes and stuffing. We got on the road and made it to his aunt’s house at about 12:30.

Todd got all the food warmed up and we enjoyed our Thanksgiving dinner while watching the Lions kill Green Bay. I ate way too much but still took Emily to the nearby park to play during half time.

Once the game was over, we packed up and headed home. Emily fell asleep on the way back because she had been running around all day. It was nice to see Todd’s family – it’s been a couple of years since we were up in Michigan and able to see his grandmother.

Todd went to the movies after we got home and I got Emily to bed. I tried to watch some MST3K on Netflix but I was just too tired. I didn’t do a whole lot but the traveling really gets to me lately. It doesn’t help that I have a cold right now.

After his movie, Todd went to hit some sales. He had a movie at Target but the line reached all the way to back of the store to check out. He decided not to wait in that massive line and just came home. He’ll be doing a little more shopping today.

For me, it was a good holiday. I’m working today, but thankfully from the comfort of my own home. After work, I’ll be getting the house ready so we can decorate next week. Todd also works today but his normal shift.


I hope all of you had a good holiday!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Perks of Working From Home

I work from home doing tech support. Even though I sit in my home office, usually in pjs, it’s very similar to the other call center jobs that I’ve worked. I have co-workers that I talk to over a chat program and I have a set schedule.

My boss is very flexible about moving my schedule around if need be. If I get sick during the week, I just work on my day off. If I want the weekend off, I work longer hours during the week. Yesterday was Emily’s preschool Sharing Feast and I got to work a shorter shift to attend.

It was so cute to see her with her friends during the short program beforehand. And we got to eat lunch with some of her friends and their parents, which was nice as well. If I was working another job, it would be harder to take off without using vacation time.

There are some downsides from working from home. But as I watch it snow outside my window, I’m glad that I don’t have a commute and that I can be there for Emily’s school programs. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Snow - Why I Love it and Hate It

Our front yard a few years ago
When I was growing up, snow was the norm for nearly six months. We lived about ten miles from Lake Michigan so we would get lake effect snow. Most years our yard would be white from November until March. I was very happy when I moved down south where the winters are much shorter.

But I have mixed feelings about snow. Before December 25, I love it because it never feels quite like Christmas without a little snow. After Christmas is over, I hate snow because then it becomes cold and annoying.

Snow is in the forecast for tomorrow and I hope we get some. Though this is very early for snow to come down here in North Carolina and I hope it’s not a sign of things to come. Luckily I do work from home so most of the time I can watch the snow without having to go out in it.

Emily always gets excited for snow because she really wants to play in it. The one year we went up to Michigan for Christmas there was no snow on the ground and didn’t really start snowing until we were driving home.

So snow is welcome for now but hopefully winter won’t last too long past Christmas.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The "War" on Christmas

This past weekend was Asheville’s Holiday parade. On the local news’ Facebook page, there is always a ton of posts complaining that the parade is a Holiday parade and not a Christmas parade. I’m a Christian and I celebrate Christmas, but I never understood the whole war on Christmas thing.

There are tons of Christians out there celebrating Christmas every year, but there are lots of other people too that celebrate other winter holidays. I’m not a big fan of trying to push my religion down people’s throats. I’ll talk about it if people want – my former best friend was agnostic and she had a lot of questions about my religion and what I believe. I answered them all honestly, and I think it gave her a lot to think about.

But I like the use of ‘holiday’ because it’s inclusive. I may say Merry Christmas, since that’s what I celebrate, but I wouldn’t mind if someone said Happy Hanukkah or Blessed Yule if that’s what they celebrate. This country is supposed to have a freedom of religion, so lots of people celebrate different things (or in some cases, don’t celebrate at all).

I wish all Christians would try to be more Christ-like and inclusive to people who aren’t just like themselves. I have plenty of non-Christian friends who I care for dearly and I hope all my friends have a great holiday season.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

War of the Seasons Book 1: The Human – A Fantasy Novel

Image - www.ailionora.com
The Human is the first book of the War of the Seasons series byJanine K. Spendlove. This book is an engaging fantasy novel that follows a young girl named Story as she journeys to a strange new world and the quest she embarks on to save it.
I love fantasy books, and the ones that involve someone from our world going to a fantasy world are some of my favorites. I think this may have something to do with the fact that I would love to find myself magically transported to a magical world.
The Human is this type of book as it follows 17 year old Story as she finds herself in the world, Ailionora, after falling in a cave while spelunking. She gets drawn into this strange, new world finding that she is in the middle of an ancient feud that exists between the elves and faeries of Ailionora.
Story is quickly joined by an elf named Eirnin. This book, in part, revolves around the relationship between these two characters as Eirnin helps Story along her way, teaching her about Ailionora as they go.
This is a tale that has many levels. On the onset, it seems like most fantasy novels, but it does have a deeper layer as Story tries to discover who she is, what her strengths are and how to deal with extreme loss. I enjoyed this book immensely.
Note: I received a copy of this book for review purposes.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

How I Became A Whovian

Image - http://en.wikipedia.org
I like fandoms and I have several that I consider myself to be a part of. I’m a Browncoat, which is a fan of Firefly / Serenity / Joss Whedon. I’m part of the Tolkien fandom, especially when a new movie is coming out. And in the last few years, I became a Whovian which is a fan of Doctor Who.

Since today is the Day of the Doctor and the 50th anniversary episode is airing later this afternoon, I thought I’d talk about how I became a Whovian.

When I was small, I remember seeing Doctor Who on TV and thinking that it was strange. I was a geeky child but the British program was a little out there for me. My dad, the major geek in my family, didn’t watch it regularly which is another reason I didn’t get into Doctor Who as a child.

I grew up and several of my friends were really into the new Doctor Who. I’m a little OCD and I like seeing any series from the beginning. With Doctor Who, I put off watching it because I was tempted to start from the 1st Doctor. Several friends convinced me that I just needed to start with Nine, at the point of the New Who reboot.

I started watching it on Netflix, and I found the first few episodes a little cheesy. As Nine’s season progressed, I enjoyed it more but I didn’t really become hooked until Ten came along. Ten is my favorite Doctor but by the time I had gotten to his seasons he had already been replaced by Eleven. It took me a while to get caught up. Partly because I didn’t want Ten’s time to be over, and partly because I wasn’t a big fan of Eleven.

Finally I was all caught up and fully a fan of Doctor Who. Even though Eleven isn’t my favorite character, still enjoyed the show because I liked the companions. I was very excited to hear that Twelve would be replacing Eleven during the Christmas episode.

Even my daughter is a Whovian. I have watched some episodes with her, trying to pick the ones that aren’t too scary. Though she picked the episodes that took place in the Library one day, and I was afraid that they would scare her because it had freaked me out. She thought it was funny and kept walking around the house saying, “Hey, who turned out the light?”

Emily’s favorite Doctor is Ten as well and her favorite companion is Donna. I probably won’t watch the simulcast this afternoon while it’s on, but wait until Emily is up from her nap. That way we can enjoy our Doctor Who fandom together.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Catching Fire Review

Last night, I went to my local theater to see the Hunger Games double feature. The Hunger Games was one of my favorite movies of last year and I love the books. The double feature was fun – it was great to see The Hunger Games on the big screen again. Plus I got to see the new Hobbit trailer twice. After the first movie, some of the theater staff came in and gave us all lanyards which was cool too.

Finally it was time for Catching Fire. The movie was great and I really enjoyed it. But I have some comments that are spoilers – for both the book and the movie. So if you want to read the spoilers scroll down past the movie poster.

Image: http://catchingfiremovie.org

The casting for this movie was really brilliant. I especially thought that Johanna Mason and Finnick were spot on. I wasn’t very happy that Mags was silent. It’s been a while since I read the book but I could have sworn that Mags did talk. It was just really distracting that she was mute.

The only other thing that didn’t seem to make sense to me was the spinning cornucopia. The spinning was fine but the comment that Plutarch Heavensbee makes about the tributes not being able to tell time now didn’t make any sense. The tributes didn’t seem to have any issues telling the time in the arena because the lightening tree didn’t move. It just felt off to me.

Otherwise, it was great, and very true to the books. I’m still curious on how the 3rd film will be because Katniss spends most of that book in the throes of PTSD. I’m sure they will focus a lot on the action stuff that happens later in the book.


All in all, Catching Fire was a great movie. I think I liked The Hunger Games a little better, but that’s probably because I liked the first book better than the 2nd too.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankgivings As A Child

With the holidays fast approaching, I’ve been thinking back to the holidays I had as a child. I grew up in Holland, MI and most of our family was on the other side of the state in Bay City. While most of my friends would travel to family on Thanksgiving, we would stay at home.

Nearly every year, we would do the same thing. We’d get up and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Usually I was the only one who watched it from beginning to end. My mom, with some help from my dad, would start working on our Thanksgiving feast while the parade was going on.

After Santa made his big entrance, we would turn the channel to football. Lunch was always cheese, crackers and summer sausage. It was enough to keep us from being hungry but not enough to make us too full before dinner.

Usually during the game, my sister and I would get out our room Christmas things and decorate. Though when I was in high school, I started following football so I would watch the game with my parents.

After the game, we’d have our turkey dinner with all the trimmings. We use my mom’s china and drink sparkling cider from wine glasses. We would have apple and pumpkin pie for dessert.

Our Thanksgiving continue on Black Friday. We never went shopping, except at this local craft type store that always had a 50% off coupon. What we did instead of shopping was we would go to cut our Christmas tree.

We had a Christmas Tree farm we went to every year. They would give us a saw and a sled, and we’d all tromp out into the farm to find the perfect tree. Some years it would be really cold and snowy, but there was always hot chocolate at the barn while our tree was measured and wrapped up.

We would spend the rest of the day decorating the house. My mom really loved Christmas so we had a lot of Christmas stuff. The whole house would be decked by the evening and we would always sit down to watch a Christmas movie – usually It’s A Wonderful Life.

This tradition continued pretty much until my mom passed away. She was really sick her last Christmas, but still came out to the Christmas Tree farm with us. My dad, sister and I tried to keep it going after she passed but it wasn’t the same.


Now I have a family of my own and we do our thing for Thanksgiving. But I still have fond memories of my childhood traditions.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My Ghost Adventures - The Eerie Basement

Image: Amazon.com
I’m a believer – I believe in God but I also believe in ghosts. I’ve had several brushes with the paranormal that have made me a believer. I currently live in a haunted house, but it’s not too scary most of the time. I thought I’d start to document my experiences.

When I was about six years old, my parents bought the house that I spent the rest of my childhood in. It was a nice house with three rooms, one and a half baths and a half-finished basement. In the half of the basement that wasn’t finished was our laundry room and in later years, my dad’s lab. We had a family room and my mom’s office in the finished half.

The basement creeped me out! From the time we moved in until the time I last visited before my dad sold the house. The finished part was ok, but I never liked going into the back part where the laundry stuff was. It just had a creepy vibe that I didn’t like.

I never experienced more than the strange vibe in the basement so I’m not sure if it was haunted at all. I’ve had some more concrete experiences in other places. But this started my fascination with ghosts and hauntings, though it would freak me out to think about it.

The only strange that that really ever happened down there was that a few years after we moved in. In the basement, I found a Choose Your Own Adventure book titled The Haunted House. I loved the Choose Your Own Adventure books but that wasn't one of the books I owned.

My parents couldn't explain where it came from but it soon became one of my favorite books. The next spooky experience didn't happen to me until I got to college.

Up Next - Help Me!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

All About Grandmas – A Children’s Book

Image: http://us.penguingroup.com
My daughter is five years old and like many kids, she has two grandmas. Both of her grandmas are very different, but they are both the same in the fact that love their grandchildren. In the new children’s book,All About Grandmas by Roni Schotter, all kinds of grandmas are shown doing all kinds of different things.
As a parent, I really liked this book because it not only showed that a grandma can have different jobs and different hobbies, but that grandmas aren’t perfect either. It’s written in a way, with great illustrations by Janice Nadeau, that small children can get the message. It’s great to see see a book that shows more than the stereotypical grandma that is shown in popular culture.
All About Grandmas is recommended for ages three to five. I would recommend this book for any kid who has a grandma, especially if their grandma doesn’t fit in the stereotypical grandma mold.
Note: I received a copy of this book for review purposes.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Personalized Children’s Books

Image: http://www.chroniclebooks.com
When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was a personalized book. I don’t remember a lot of details about the story but I loved that it was a book about me. I do remember that the name of the dog in the book was Snoopy because we didn’t have any pets at the time and that was the name of my dad’s favorite fictional dog. I wish I still had the book because it was just so cool.
So I jumped at the chance to be able to do the same for my daughter. There are a couple of types of personalized books that My Chronicle books offers. One tells the story of a day in a life of a race car driver and another is the day in the life of a princess. There are other options as well like a fairy book and a pirate book. My daughter is very into princesses now, so I picked the princess book for her.
My daughter enjoyed the book a lot because it was about her. Because she is only five she didn’t pick up on some of the details in the story like how the book mentioned that her birthstone is the opal or how the name of her kingdom is the town that we live in. She did like that the princess was named after her and had purple hair, which is her favorite color. I think she’ll appreciate her story more when she is a little older and can read it herself.
You can learn more about these wonderful personalized books at My Chronicle Books’ website.
Note: I received a copy of this book  for review purposes.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Writing, NaNoWriMo and Chronic Pain

There is nothing else I would rather do than write. Unfortunately, I’m not to the point where writing pays any bills. Some days, I can eek out a blog post or some writing between calls while doing my day job. But some days it’s just too busy.

Once I get off from work, I tend to nap especially on days that my pain level has been high. On those days, once I wake up I try to do housework type things or just rest depending on how bad the pain is. The pain usually makes it hard to think so I have a hard time getting any writing done in the afternoons and evenings.

Despite this, I try and do NaNoWriMo every November. This year, I’ve only written about 3500 words, but it’s good to be trying to write on a daily basis again. I’m not working on a new story but instead working on the 2nd draft of my already finished novel. I’m really hoping to have the 2nd draft finished before the end of the year so I can start finding beta readers.

Someday I’ll be a published author. Chronic pain just makes it harder to try and get the words out.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My Feelings On Snow

As winter approaches, so does the colder weather with the threat of snow. We actually have snow in the forecast for tonight and I’m feeling a little conflicted about it.

Mostly because I hate snow with a passion, except between Thanksgiving and Christmas when I love snow. I grew up in Michigan and I lived very close to Lake Michigan. Because of the lake, we would get tons of snow every year because of the lake effect. Snow would start usually in late October / early November and wouldn’t let up until late February / early March. Usually once the snow came, you wouldn’t see the grass again until spring.

Snow in December made it feel Christmas-y but once it was December 26, I was already sick of it. I was never fond of the cold when I was a child and the best part about playing in the snow was the hot chocolate afterwards. As I grew up, my hatred of snow outside of Christmas increased as it just became a pain.

I was extremely happy to move down South were snow doesn’t happen very often. Most of the eight years we’ve lived her, we haven’t gotten more than a dusting or two. Of course, that means mostly green Christmases, which is a little sad but I can deal with it.

They do freak out down here over the threat of snow. Schools have been canceled in the past because a snow storm was in the forecast – most of the time it never actually snows. And everyone goes to the store to stock up on bread and milk when snow is in the forecast.

We’ll see what happens tonight. I’ve been feeling festive already so a little snow would be nice since we don’t get a lot down here. Plus I work from home now so I don’t have to go out in the cold unless I choose to!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Disney Trip 2013 - Departure Day and Final Thoughts

This is the final post of my Disney Trip report – click for  post #1post #2post #3post #4post #5post #6, and post #7!


We got up early on our departure day. We had to be out of the room by 11 and needed to do most of the packing. Emily and I went to the car to load some things up and I got some pictures of her in the resort which was really beautiful.

We had some credits left on the dining plan so Emily and I got some breakfast. Todd wasn’t hungry because he was a bit sick – he thought he might have gotten food poisoning though Emily and I were fine.

Todd finished up loading the car while I amused Emily in the arcade since we had some credits left. We got checked out and then went to the food court to spend the rest of our dining plan credits so we could have snacks for the drive home.

The drive home was pretty uneventful and we got back late that night. I was sad to go but it was nice to be home.


Emily and I want to go back to Disney World as soon as we can, though Todd is less thrilled about going back. We are tentatively planning on going back in 2016, probably in September.

I thought the trip went really well. We didn’t see everything but we had a pretty relaxed time with taking afternoon breaks. It really helped Emily be able to keep going by taking a nap in the afternoon.

The new Magic Bands are great! They work for everything from opening the room, to the dining plan to Fast Pass +. I was really intrigued when I first heard about the Magic Bands and I’m really glad that we got to try them.

I also loved the new Fast Pass +. We never used Fast Pass that much before, and we still didn’t for a lot of things. But it fits our style of touring which is laid back. I didn’t mind scheduling our Fast Pass + selections in advance. The only thing I would have done differently would have been to print out all our Fast Pass + selections for each day so I wouldn’t have to try and fiddle with the My Disney Experience app.

All in all, it was a pretty magical first trip for Emily. I asked her last night what her favorite things to do at Disney were. She said that she loved meeting the characters and riding Dumbo and Star Tours. Hopefully she’ll still love it once we go back in a few years!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Being Different Is A Good Thing – A Children’s Book

Image: http://furry-feline.com/
As a geek, I have always known that I’m a little different from many folks out there. My daughter, who is five, has already expressed interest in geeky things at a young age. So the children’s book, Being Different Is A Good Thing, which features Furry Feline characters, has been great in helping her know there is nothing wrong with being different.
The Furry Feline characters are a line of plush animals, but this new children’s book brings these characters to life. Being Different Is A Good Thing tells the story of Chef Tako, who is an octopus. He becomes concerned because all of his friends have tails and he doesn’t. He does finally realize that being different is a good thing, by embracing the things that are good about him and not worrying that he doesn’t have a tail.
This was a really sweet story with cute characters. My daughter really enjoyed it. I’d recommend Being Different Is A Good Thing to any parent of young kids to help bring the point across that being different is just fine.
Note: I received a copy of this book for review purposes.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage – A Preteen Murder Mystery

Image: http://sheilaturnage.com
You may think that a murder mystery might not be the ideal subject matter for a novel geared towards kids 10 and older. But Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage is a great introduction to this genre for preteens.
Three Times Lucky tells the story of sixth grader Mo LoBeau. Mo is an orphan who washed ashore after a hurricane as a newborn. She lives with her guardians, Miss Lana and the Colonel. Her family is about the most unusual thing in the small North Carolina town that they live in, until a policeman comes to town, looking for clues for about a murder. The Colonel, who found Mo as a baby and has no memory before that time, comes under scrutiny from the lawman. Because of this, Mo and her friend Dale start investigating as well and find themselves swept into the mystery.
This book is a great introduction to the murder mystery genre. All the parts, such as the murders, that could be gory are done “off camera” and none of the kids in the book are exposed to it. Even as an adult, I enjoyed Three Times Lucky a great deal, in part because it is set in my home state of North Carolina.
Three Times Lucky is currently available in hardcover, for the Kindle and for the Nook.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Disney Trip 2013 - Disney's Hollywood Studios


This is the 7th post of my Disney Trip report – click for  post #1post #2post #3post #4post #5, and post #6!

Even though I had had a long night before, we got up early for our last park today. We were heading to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We had to sit down reservations so Todd decided that we were going to rent a stroller in hopes Emily would nap there instead of going back to the room for nap time.

My in-laws met us in the lobby at 8:30 am and we took the bus to the park together. Emily was a little cranky today but was excited to have a stroller. The first thing we did was we went to see Pluto and Goofy. Emily decided that she didn’t really want pictures anymore just autographs. These two were the last we needed for because of the disappeared Chef Mickey’s pictures and we were able to convince her to take a picture.
From there, we went to Star Tours with my in laws. Emily hasn’t seen Star Wars yet because I’m paranoid
that she’s not going to like it. But she’s see the Lego Star Wars games and has a limited understanding of what Star Wars is.

I love Star Tours and was excited to ride it since I haven’t been since they upgraded it. Emily was a little unsure, especially since this was the wildest ride we had been on. She said she didn’t like it when we got out and we headed over to see the Muppets show.

The Muppets was good and Emily enjoyed herself, especially playing with the 3D glasses while we waited. Once we got out of the show, we went to meet Phineas and Ferb. They were really awesome and I got in the picture too because Emily was being shy. I also got a picture of myself with a Ducky MoMo statuesince I’m planning on making a Ducky MoMo costume for Dragon Con next year.

It was more characters after that. We went into the Animation Building to meet Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope. Emily wanted both Todd and I to come up with her so we did. That’s how we got our only full family pictures the entire vacation!

It was nearing the time of our first reservation so we headed over to Hollywood and Vine. Our reservation was at 11 when they started serving lunch. It was also a character meal with some of the Disney Junior characters. We were a bit early and got checked in. The cast member checking us in had chalk that she was giving to the kids, so Emily had

fun drawing on the ground. The characters also kept coming up to the windows and waved at the kids
waiting

Finally we were seated and June from the Little Einsteins came over right away. Emily was happy to get her

to autograph her book but wanted no part in the pictures. So Todd got his picture with June. Same thing with Jake, so I got my picture taken with him.

Oso came around next and Todd took one picture with me and Oso standing behind Emily’s chair. I was sad that it didn’t turn out because it was really blurry. I got in the picture with Handy Manny too, I actually photobombed the picture because I had been coming back from the buffet.

The food was excellent and the chef came out and advised me which foods were dangerous to me with my shellfish and tree nut allergy. Todd agreed the meal was very good though surmised it was partly because the food was fresh.

After we ate, we headed over to get in line to meet Sofia the First. She is the newest character available for meet and greets so the line was long. Todd left us since he didn’t care about meeting Sofia to go ride Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. We waited probably a half hour for Sophia. A couple of times she had to take a break – the cast members with her always said that she needed to go back and check on her winged horse, Minimus.
Emily got a kick out of that and still talks about how Minimus was just backstage.

Again Emily didn’t want to be in the picture by herself so I got in it with her. Sofia was very sweet and well worth the wait. I got Emily in her stroller and we went over to Star Tours where we were going to meet up with Todd. Emily didn’t nap or even get sleepy as I rolled her over there so I got us a snack to eat while we were waiting.

Once Todd joined us, Emily decided that she wanted to brave Star Tours again. This time she loved it and wanted to ride it again. Since there was very little waiting we rode it again. She wanted to keep riding it but there were other things we wanted to do.

I had Fastpass + for the Disney Junior Show and the Toy Story Mania ride. But they were both a little later in the afternoon. Even though the Toy Story Mania standby wait time was listed at two hours, we decided to get in line.

The queue had all kinds of different toys large sized and a giant Mr. Potato Head who sang songs and told jokes. Once we got past Mr. Potato Head the line moved pretty fast. The ride itself was a lot of fun. You put on 3D glasses and then get spun around to different scenes were you get to shoot at targets and earn points. It was fun and Emily really enjoyed it.

After that, we met up with my in-laws and we all decided to go to the next showing of the Disney Junior show. It had all of Emily’s favorite characters from her favorite shows in puppet form. There was Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. The show was really cute and things would fall from the sky like bubbles and tissue paper gold doubloons.

There was time left so we all decided to go ride on the Great Movie Ride. I was little afraid that some of the scenes, like the one from Alien, would scare Emily but she loved the ride. I’m a big movie nut and have a degree in Broadcasting, so it’s one of my favorites.

From there decided to go to where we had dinner reservations early since our reservations were pretty late. We ate at 50’s Prime Time CafĂ©. We were seated pretty quickly and had a nice meal. Emily was excited because I got her a special class with a light up Ariel and our server also gave her a light up Tinkerbelle.

Once we were done, it was after 7 pm and we had been in the park for about 10 hours. Emily was getting tired and we were driving home the next day so we opted to skip the fireworks show and head back to the resort.

Up next post - Departure Day and Final Thoughts

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Disney Trip 2013 - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

This is the 6th post of my Disney Trip report – click for  post #1post #2post #3post #4, and post #5!

On our Disney honeymoon, my favorite thing that we did was Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I love Halloween and the party didn’t disappoint. I knew I wanted to do the party again this trip and originally wanted all of us to go. Todd felt that Emily was too young and instead of fighting about it, it was decided that I would go solo.

Since I love costumes, I knew I wanted to wear one to the party. Since I wanted to ride the rides, I knew my Kaylee layer cake dress was out even though it would have been so fun to wear. I ultimately decided on my Petit Charat costume since it was fun, comfortable and I could remove my tail if need be.

The party ticket is a separate cost and while the party starts at 7 pm, partygoers can gain entry into the Magic Kingdom at 4 pm. I got dressed and was down at the bus stop in time to get to the park right at 4.

Not all the rides and attractions are open for the party so I decided to use my three hours of regular park time to ride some things I didn’t get to do the previous today. I hightailed it to Tomorrowland so I could go on the Carousel of Progress, which is one of my favorites.

From there, I went to Adventureland to ride on the Jungle Cruise. The line was really long but I decided to
wait for it anyway. After the Jungle Cruise, I caught the last showing of the Enchanted Tiki Room.

It was nearly 7 pm and the start of the party, so I went back to Main Street. I had decided to find a spot and
sit there for the parade, the Villians show and then the fireworks. This wasn’t the best idea because I spent a lot of time sitting. I did have an awesome front row spot for the parade – I even got high fived by Tigger! The Villians show happened after that, and it wasn’t that exciting. They did a couple of songs and then went down in front of the Castle for a meet and greet.

Since I was sitting right in front of the Castle and Main Street was getting really crowded, I opted not to move before the HalloWishes fireworks. The hour arrived and they turned off all the lights on Main Street and the fireworks started. I love the Halloween fireworks and really enjoyed them this year as well.

Once the fireworks ended, I got caught in a brief traffic jam to get out of the hub. I headed off and stopped at the first trick or treat location I saw since I had promised Emily I would bring back candy. I waited for about 5 minutes to go through the trick or treat line. I went to other candy stations and didn’t have to wait at all.

I headed first to New Fantasyland because was really thirsty and I wanted to try LaFou’s Brew. It was really good but really sweet after I had gotten about halfway through. I made my way to my favorite ride, the Haunted Mansion which was awesome as always.

I got caught by the 2nd parade going through Frontierland, so I ended up doing another trick or treat trail and then some shopping. Once the path was clear, I headed over to ride Pirates and hit a few more trick or treat trails. By this time, it was past 11 pm so I decided to start heading towards the exit. I did some shopping on the way out, finding the Maleficent Ears that I had been searching all evening.

I got back to the room around midnight and I fell into bed. It was a long but really fun evening.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Disney Trip 2013 - Rest Day


This is the 5th post of my Disney Trip report – click for  post #1post #2post #3, and post #4!

On our Disney honeymoon, we went non-stop. Long days in the park, one rest day and our trip was eight days long. Three weeks after we got back, Todd ended up in the hospital with a heart attack scare. He didn’t end up actually having a heart attack, but he likes to say that Disney tried to kill him.

So when planning this trip, we decided only to be less commando about it. We planned on taking mid-day breaks so Emily could rest and nap. We also put in a rest day near the middle of the trip so we could just relax. Also, this was the day that I was going to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party solo.

We started out the day just sleeping in. Emily got up around 7 am and we watched cartoons while Todd slept. After he got up we
started moving because we did want to go to Downtown Disney for a little bit. After taking the bus, we got down there just before the shops started opening up.

The Christmas shop was the one that I really wanted to go to so I could get my 2013 ornament. Right outside the Christmas shop was a carousel. Emily wanted to ride it, but didn’t want to go alone. We purchased two tokens, but since I was just going with her it only cost us one. We used the other token to ride on the little train that was nearby.

While Emily was riding on the train, I went into a nearby pin shop. I love Disney pins though I’m not into pin trading. All my pins are special to me and I actually try to collect Haunted Mansion pins in particular. I got a Madame Leota 2013 pin and then saw the end of Emily’s train ride.

We hit the Once Upon A Toy shop where Emily played with the Mr. Potato Head parts and then we went to the Lego store. I love the Lego store and could spend a lot of money there. Emily had fun playing with the Legos. I restrained myself and only bought two minifig key chains.

Since Emily had spent the last of her money the day before we opted not to go into the World of Disney store. It was getting close to lunch time so we just went back to our room. We got lunch from the food court and ate it in the room. Emily really wanted to go swimming in the Big Pool Blue so I went down with her for an hour or so.

Emily currently doesn’t know how to swim so I was very vigilant about being close to her. She did want to get out of the pool and wipe her face. That kind of became a game as I would say
“Wow, that didn’t take too long!” each time she came back.

We headed back to the room so Emily could nap. I just vegged out with Todd while for a few hours and then I started to get ready for the party. I thought Emily was old enough for the party but Todd disagreed and instead of fighting with him, it was decided that I would go by myself. We’ll be back so I figure Emily can go to the party sometime. 

Up next post – Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Disney Trip 2013 - Magic Kingdom Part 2


This is the 4th post of my Disney Trip report – click for post #1, post #2, and post #3!

After we all got some rest, we headed back to the Magic Kingdom for a few more hours. As part of the new Fantasyland expansion, there is a new restaurant called Be Our Guest that nearly everyone wants to eat at. For lunch, its counter service so you can just walk up, though the lines can be very long from what I’ve heard.  For dinner, its table service so you have to have a reservation.

When it was time to make our reservations (which was six months before our trip), my travel agent warned that she might not be able to get a reservation for Be Our Guest. I was fine with that but luckily she got us one for 4:05 pm on our Magic Kingdom day.


There were other people waiting when we got to Beast’s castle (where Be Our Guest is located) but it didn’t take us long before we were seated at our table. We were in the room that had a giant music box of Belle and Beast.

Dinner was really good and for dessert Emily got The Grey Stuff, which is a grey pudding that they only give to guests who are having a celebration. There is a dessert that has the grey stuff on top because it was so popular. Emily also got a special birthday card signed by Belle and the Beast.

After dinner, it was time to go meet the Beast who only meets guests at Be Our Guest after they have had dinner. The Beast was huge! Emily got a little freaked out and wouldn’t take her picture with him. I love Beauty and the Beast so I got my picture with
him. Beast tried to come over and say hi to Emily but she just hid behind Todd.

From there, we headed to ride some more rides. Since this was Emily’s birthday trip we decided to let her decide what we rode. She knew that my favorite ride is The Haunted Mansion so she wanted to ride it. I thought she would be fine, Todd though she would be really scared. Emily decided we were going to ride it.
Since the last time we were at Disney World, they re-did the queue area for The Haunted Mansion. Now it’s interactive where the kids can go up and touch some of the busts. There is a big organ with music instruments on the side. If you touch theinstruments, it will play spooky music.

Finally we got inside the stretching room and I knew that this part
could be scary so I picked Emily up. She didn’t seem very scared even when the lights went out (though I don’t think she looked up either to see the ‘surprise’ in the ceiling). We got into our doombuggy and off we went.

After we got off the ride, we looked at her and she looked at Todd and told him that it wasn’t scary but fun. So I won that one! We were near where Tiana does meet and greets so we went over there to see if we could meet Tiana. The handler said that Tiana and her prince, Naveen, were going to take a break after the current line was done and the queue usually filled up fast.

Because Tiana is Emily’s favorite princess we got in line behind some people who were already waiting. They ended up leaving so we were first in line. Emily had gotten a Woody doll earlier in the day and had brought him with her. So she had something to
amuse herself. Todd and I both took turns going to look in the nearby gift shops.

Finally it was time to meet Tiana and Naveen. This was best character meeting we had. Tiana and Naveen sang Emily a very short birthday song. Emily told Tiana that Emily was Tiana’s favorite (instead of the other way around), Tiana just gave her a big hug and told her yes, Emily was her favorite.

It only lasted about five minutes but it cemented Tiana as Emily’s favorite princess. She liked Naveen too and said later that he was very handsome. It was a very magical moment.

Since it was getting dark and Emily was silly tired, we headed back to our hotel. Emily had kept her hair up all day and it still retained its shape even once I got the crown and hair ties out. We gave her a bath and got a lot of the sparkles out. It took another bath before the majority of the sparkles were gone.


Up next post – Downtown Disney!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013


Yesterday was my favorite Holiday of the year. We did a lot this year leading up to Halloween from trick or treating with our church to attending a couple of Halloween festivals. On Halloween, things were a little more laid back.

Last year, Emily threw up once the night before Halloween. She seemed fine but we decided caution was the best way to go so we kept her out of school. This year, luckily we didn’t have a repeat and she was able to go to school in costume.

We left for the mall to go trick or treating early so we could run some errands. We got to the mall earlier so Emily could spend the last of her birthday money. She got the Spike she wanted from Build A Bear Workshop. We had a little bit more time to kill so we went into Barnes and Noble to look at books.


Finally the appointed hour arrived and we made our way through the mall. Emily had picked one of the buckets she had gotten from McDonald’s last year and soon it was overflowing with candy. She also got to meet the Chick-Fil-A cow who was dressed as a fairy and get other things like stickers and pencils.

We were all pooped by the time we were done, so we got take out and headed home. Emily picked the Toy Story of Terror cartoon to watch before bed. I haven’t been sleeping well, so Todd and I watched some of the Roseanne Halloween specials instead of something scary.


It was a nice end to the Halloween season. Though I’m not going to take my Halloween decorations down until it’s time for the Christmas ones to go up since I just got them up last week!